As you may know from past posts about “the city”, I’ve really developed a theology and passion for the city, especially Prague. As I live here I try to keep an ear to the ground of change and development of this city I love so much. This is for many reasons, but one of the larger ones is I believe Prague is, and will be, a vital player in the years to come in Europe and seeing the Gospel break through the hard soil here would be huge for all of Europe!
Yesterday, as I was enjoying my first day bez (without) school I did some surfing and found a couple interesting articles entitled, “Ever changing Prague: Bold visions, radical proposals,” and, “The richer Prague is, the greater decay it faces.” The first of the two articles describes some things to improve life here in Prague, ranging from rerouting streets, trying to help with the horrible traffic, to new metro stations and lines! It was encouraging to read, because it would seem that this is more than just talk. Talking about the problems and not being proactive is somewhat of a common problem here.
The second of the two articles had some interesting facts, like the “Czech capital occupies the 12th position among 270 European regions, other Czech regions are still in the third hundred.” I have seen, since I returned, how quickly things are changing and developing here, but here are some concrete numbers for it. I remember last September, when I moved back, and the short 15 minute drive from the airport to my flat was filled with statements like, “Wow that building is new!” The growth and development is great, but there is always a backside to it – that would be cost of living and a widening difference between other areas in the country.
The gap between Prague and its surroundings keeps growing though. A Prague citizen’s economic output is twice as great as the Czech average in the long run. Other regions range from 75 to 90 percent.
The difference between the output of regional economies grows each year. In 2001, a Prague citizen posted a production of CZK 475,000, i.e. by 259,000 more that the second most productive city, PlzeÅˆ.
In 2006, the difference was already 368,000.
The trend is not likely to stop as the investment gap is growing even faster. There are 2.5 times more investments coming to Prague than to the rest of the country. Against Jihlava and Pardubice, four times more investments flow through Prague per citizen.
As for those moving, more than a half of them head for Prague or its closest surroundings, one third of all new houses are built in Prague region.
According to politics expert Marek, this trend may not necessarily be bad. “Building mega-cities that lead other regions is counted upon in many European countries,” he reminds us saying that also the Poles and Hungarians embarked on this journey within the past years. As for Germany, especially Hamburg and Munich are successful centers.
Mega-cities? Interesting… What will the future bring? I’m not sure, but I will heed the words of Jeremiah 29:5-7, and, Lord-willing, live them out to Prague.
Build houses and live in them; plant gardens and eat their produce. Take wives and have sons and daughters; take wives for your sons, and give your daughters in marriage, that they may bear sons and daughters; multiply there, and do not decrease. But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the LORD on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare.
May you and I seek the welfare of the earthly cities that God has exiled us to.